Beyond the Soul
~reviewed by Kevin Filan

According to Projekt Records (who distribute this CD in the States), Am'Ganesha'n is an "All star Gothic Metal Band from France featuring leaders from Rajna, Speaking Silence & Les Secrets de Morphée. Forgot Dead Can Dance and welcome AM’GANESHA’N." 

I'm not sure where "Gothic Metal" comes from... Fields of the Nephilim this ain't.  On the other hand, the suggestion that you "forget Dead Can Dance" is right on the money. Every Worldbeat-influenced band with female vocalists is inevitably compared to DCD. (By
that token, every band with a skillful keyboard player and pretentious baritone singer should be compared to Emerson, Lake and Palmer... )  Am'Ganesha'n are a superb band in their own right, with a unique sound that is at once accessible and challenging.   Smart listeners will check their preconceptions at the door, and prepare to be amazed.

The vocals on this CD are astonishing.  The birdlike trills on "Dogma" and "Hymonia" are reminiscent of Yma Sumac or Minnie Ripperton; high, but never piercing or grating.  On the low end, the sonorous chants of "Ashes' Dance" and the odd baritone scales of "Road to Ishnar" are hypnotic and unsettling.  Things get especially interesting when the two combine:  the vocal interplay in "Arthesia" evokes a choir dancing around a sacrificial altar, while the eerie throat-singing on "Tibetan Dream" creates a menacing atmosphere, like tanks gathering at the border. 

Equally interesting is the instrumentation used.  Gerhard, formerly of Rajna, astounds with his mastery. The portentous bass drum on "Illyria" could have come straight out of Moria, while the chimes and flutes of "Fiery Pilgrimage" and bowed strings of "Majakong" and "Khatag" are goaded on by tablas and other less identifiable percussion.  Here he's stretching himself and challenging the audience.  The odd harmonies and dissonances spice things up and keep the CD from falling into the "World Muzak" trap. 

Am'Ganesha'n appears to be a side project for the musicians involved.  I definitely want to hear more from their main bands: I would also encourage them to get back in the studio again with this group.  Side projects are frequently self-indulgent egofests, of interest only to the most rabid or obsessive-compulsive collector.  Occasionally, though, you strike gold.  Freed of worries about commercial viability or genre, the artists are able to make the music they love.  That appears to be what happened here.  This isn't a "commercial" release ... but it's definitely got the potential for commercial success.  If you like ambient/chill music, or if you're a fan of Worldbeat, this CD is indispensible. 

1. Dogma
2. Ganesha
3. Road to Ishnar
4. Stroke of Fate
5. Ashes' Dance
6. Tibetan Dream
7. Hymonia
8. Fiery Pilgrimage
9. Arthesia
10. Uriel
11. Isabella
12. Majakong
13. Khatag
14. Ilyria
15. Sanctus

Official Am'Ganesha'n Website (in French)

Am'Ganesha'n Available at Middle Pillar:

Am'Ganesha'n Available at Projekt: